Category Archives: commercial skylights

5 Ways to Boost Your Home Remodeling This Spring

kitchen remodel

Now that spring is here, it’s time to move forward with that remodeling project you’ve been thinking about for months. No matter what you have in mind, a home remodeling contractor can help you with your project. Below are five ideas for boosting your home remodeling and improving your home’s value this spring.

1. Install a Skylight 

A skylight provides an added design dimension to your home while allowing you to benefit from natural light and improved ventilation. Manufacturers now build skylights with heat-absorbing tins, insulated glazing, and low emissivity coatings to reduce summertime heat gain and eliminate wintertime heat loss.

You can also choose automated units with pneumatic devices or electric motors. Newer products now come with moisture sensors to automatically close the skylight if it rains. Skylights are fully customizable to match any roof/ceiling design or dimension. Add a skylight to your kitchen, bathroom, living room, or bedroom.

2. Build a Retaining Wall

If you are looking for a practical solution for reducing erosion or adding structural stability to your yard, a retaining wall may be your best option. If you have an elevated space, a retaining wall can help you maintain the landscape or level out your yard so that you can other features.

Some of the benefits of a retaining wall include:

  • Provides structural support that keeps soil in place
  • Prevents erosion and flooding
  • Adds more functional space to your yard
  • Adds a decorative feature with aesthetic appeal
  • Offers endless design options to suit any exterior design

3. Restore Your Foundation

Foundation problems in your home only get worse over time. They can compromise your home’s structural safety and property value. Foundation repair can restore your home’s integrity and put you back on solid ground. The sooner you address the problem the less expensive and time-consuming the project will be. 

Foundation repair can prevent damage to your plumbing or keep your home from getting flooded. A home remodeling contractor can assess your home’s foundation to determine what work needs to be done and how to move forward with the repair. Foundation repair is a great spring project that yields a high ROI for the duration of the home’s life.

4. Add a Second Story to Your Home

Did you know that it’s possible to add a second story to your home? A home remodeling contractor simply removes the roof and implements the second story to your specifications. A second story gives you more living space without moving or taking up your yard space. 

You can take advantage of the extended scenic view around your home, as you use your new space for whatever you want. Adding a second story to your home also gives you the opportunity to fix any current structural issues with the home. Plus, the added space adds value to your home.

5. Remodel Your Kitchen This Spring

A kitchen remodel is hands down the residential renovation project with the highest ROI. Renovating your kitchen presents endless opportunities to improve the floor plan, design, and functionality. You can update your floor, walls, countertops, cabinets, appliances, and other features. 

A contractor can help you create your design concepts, make recommendations on kitchen products and materials, and guide you through each stage of the project through completion. You can have the kitchen you’ve always wanted this spring.

Home Remodeling Contractor in San Francisco, California

No matter what idea you have for remodeling your home this season, Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights can help you every step of the way. We offer comprehensive home remodeling in San Francisco, California and the surrounding Bay Area. Call 925.671.9500 today for a free consultation with a home remodeling contractor.

Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling and siding experts. We enjoy working with homeowners as they start the process with their next project.  Contact us today to get started on your home remodel or siding project!

5 Kitchen Trends for Your Next Home Remodel

kitchen skylight-Mares Dow

Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen may be the one area that requires the most light. However, keeping the kitchen bright can cause an increase in your energy and lighting costs. What’s the solution? How about kitchen skylights?

Home remodeling contractors love skylights because of modern design, easy installation, and energy efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at 5 kitchen trends for your next home remodel. Let these captivating kitchen ideas light up your room!

Single, Slender Skylight

If you have a narrow, long kitchen, you may think that there is no room for a skylight. However, the solution is to install a single, slender skylight that spans the room. Long skylights give you plenty of sunlight with balanced illumination that spreads across all four walls and the floor. 

A residential or commercial skylight contractors can easily install a single glass panel into the framework. Best of all, a single skylight makes your kitchen look more spacious. You will love the results!

Trendy Trusses

A current trend in home remodeling is adaptive reuse of existing structures in older homes. For instance, you can create a unique skylight design by preserving the trusses that are already a part of your roof’s framework. Trusses provide stability while giving your skylight an added dimension.

You can either paint the trusses to match your ceiling and skylight or stain them, allowing the natural wood color to complement the other elements of the room.  Trusses offer an affordable option that requires little effort to renovate.

Vaulted Ceilings

Vaulted ceilings create the perfect backdrop for skylights. With elevated design, a vaulted ceiling allows more light into the room while channeling the light in a specific direction. Since the ceilings are often taller, you have more room to expand the windows across a larger ceiling.

The skylights can stand out as a distinct architectural feature while enhancing both the ceiling and the rest of the kitchen. They create an ambiance that cannot be matched by interior lighting.

Match the Skylights with Other Elements

From shapes to shades, skylights present an opportunity to add a decorative element to your kitchen’s layout. For instance, if you have a largely symmetrical kitchen design, home remodeling contractors can install glass that is square or rectangular in shape. Curved lines may call for glass that has a round shape.

In addition, you can also enhance the skylights with bold colors, patterns, or textures around the framework. Add shades that match your countertops, flooring, or décor. When it comes to designing your skylights, the ‘sky’ is the limit.

Add Framework

Just like windows or door glass, skylights offer an opportunity for you to get a little creative with framework patterns and designs. Thin trim adds a subtle touch while providing structural integrity to the glass. Big, bold frames become a part of the overall skylight concept and command attention.

Like trusses, you can customize your framework to match or complement both the glass and your kitchen design. The options are endless. Home remodeling contractors can design and install your framework to your exact specifications.

Contact Your Home Remodeling Contractors in Concord, CA

Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights offer quality construction and home improvement services for homeowners in Concord and the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area. To find out more about our skylight products and services, contact us at 925.671.9500. We can help you with all your skylight needs.

3 Limitations of Commercial Skylights and How to Avoid Them

commercial-skylights-Mares Dow

If you have read the ample literature and research on the benefits of commercial skylights for property owners and building occupants, you are likely wondering why skylights aren’t installed on every building. There are several historical limitations to skylights, but with today’s technology, there are also ways to avoid those shortcomings. Here is a look at some of the problems that plague commercial skylights and the ways innovations in skylight technology have worked to overcome them. 

“Leaky” skylights

One common anxiety with skylights is that they will compromise the integrity of the roof and let the various outdoor elements penetrate the building. If water does enter the skylight or condensation builds up, the unwanted moisture is not only a nuisance but it can also create opportunities for mold growth. Because leaky skylights have been a real problem in the past, today’s skylight models have devoted a great deal of effort to the design, engineering, and installation practices of skylights to combat this issue. Modern skylight frames and flashing are designed and tested to withstand heavy precipitation and extreme weather, while some brands have developed condensation wicking systems to mitigate interior moisture buildup. 

Surface area requirements

In order for commercial skylights to provide a consequential amount of daylight to building interiors, they can require a great deal of roof surface area. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), a nonprofit organization that certifies and rates skylights for their energy efficiency, estimates that for traditional flat skylights to provide adequate lighting they will need to occupy 7 to 10 percent of your roof space. This surface area requirement can present challenges for commercial skylight installers on buildings that don’t have that space to spare or have difficult-to-work-around roof contours and dimensions. The demands on roof surface area, however, can be lessened with some of the newer products available today. Sun tube skylights, for example, occupy significantly less space than traditional skylights while transmitting a comparable amount of natural light. These skylights are also more versatile in terms of roof placement, as they can funnel light down their reflective tubes to interior spaces that otherwise would not be able to benefit from a skylight directly overhead. 

Heat loss and gain

In the past, commercial skylights have also been the culprit in creating a heavy workload for a building’s HVAC system as it works overtime to compensate for the heat lost and gained through skylights. This can end up being a pricey unintended consequence. However, many of today’s skylights have addressed this issue by using better materials and offering Low-E coatings. A skylight that uses a Low-E coating on the glazing can reflect heat in the form of infrared and ultraviolet rays away from the interior while still transmitting the same amount of natural light. For skylights that minimize heat loss and gain, you’ll want to look for a low U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient on its performance rating. 

Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling and commercial skylight experts. Contact us today to get started on your next project or for a consultation!

How to Choose the Right Commercial Skylight Contractor

How to Choose the Right Commercial Skylight Contractor-commercial skylight-Mares Dow

Once you’ve decided to invest in commercial skylights for your business or property, it’s important to find the right contractor for the job. Just as you would research and vet for other structurally significant projects like retaining wall contractors, a skilled commercial skylight installer is key for the integrity of the finished product. When it comes to selecting your contractor, you can approach the process as you would for other positions in your business: research your options, conduct interviews, and choose the candidate who offers the best value. 

Research your options

One of the first steps in your research process is to define your objectives. This will help you to determine which commercial skylight contractors are viable options for your project needs. When outlining your objectives, consider your timeline, budget, and any unique project specifications, such as particular skylight brands you would like to use or known challenges for installation. Once you have put these items together, cast your net for local contractors. It can be helpful to ask other trusted contractors or vendors in your network who they recommend to start building your list. Some skylight brands such as Velux also provide a directory of vetted skylight specialists who provide installation and contracting services locally. 

Interview for the job

Now that you have a list of potential contractors, you can begin the interview process. As you discuss your project with them, be sure to communicate your budget, timeline, and skylight preferences and do a walk-through of your property. The site visit is helpful for the contractor to get a clear idea of what the installation process will entail and how it will impact your operations, and it is helpful for you as the contractor may be able to provide new insights and ideas for the project. An experienced contractor will be able to tell you what to expect from the installation process and offer references from previous customers. It is a good idea to follow up on these references, either by reaching out by phone or visiting the property to see the skylights for yourself. Testimonials from happy clients can tell you a lot about both the quality of the contractor’s work and their level of professionalism throughout the project. 

Find the best value

From the contractors you interviewed, select two or three and request bids for the project. While the tendency may be to go with the lowest bid, the quoted price is not the best primary metric for evaluation. A low bid can be a red flag for cutting corners with the quality of the materials or with job-site safety, or for tacking on expenses once the project has started. Look for the proposal that best aligns with your project needs and displays an attention to detail in the breakdown of the cost of materials, labor, the contractor’s take home, and other expenses. 

Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our skylight contractors can help you with your next project. Contact us today to get started!

Why commercial skylights can benefit your office

Commercial Skylights - Mares Dow

 

Many of us spend a large percentage of our day at our places of work. For this reason, many employers strive for their offices to be comfortable and conducive to productivity, all while keeping an eye on the business’s bottom line. Commercial skylights can help in this balancing act, bringing several benefits that positively impact the whole office. 

 

Saves on utility costs

Commercial skylights are a very efficient way to reduce the money your office spends on utility bills. For many businesses, the amount they pay for lighting and HVAC usage can seem like an immovable number – but it doesn’t have to be that way. With commercial skylights, businesses can benefit from natural light and outdoor air circulation, and the reduced energy usage and costs that come with leveraging these free natural resources. Modern skylights are designed to capture and diffuse maximum daylight, even during the low light hours of the day when the sun isn’t overhead. Additionally, there are venting skylight models that can exchange trapped indoor heat with cooler outdoor air, reducing reliance on air conditioning systems to create comfortable indoor temperatures. 

 

Promotes employee wellbeing

Natural light is a well-known contributor to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of every individual. It is our primary source of Vitamin D and the main regulator of our internal clock, as well as a trigger for the brain’s release of serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone that helps a person feel calm and focused. Studies show that those who benefit from natural light at work sleep better at night and experience less absenteeism. This, in turn, benefits their employers who report greater productivity and creativity within their teams. With all these advantages of exposure to natural light during the workday, commercial skylights are a logical choice for healthier and happier employees. 

 

Provides a simple solution

You don’t have to purchase and install a complicated building energy management system to achieve the benefit of energy savings, and you don’t have to redesign your workplace with floor-to-ceiling windows on every exterior wall to achieve the health benefits of natural light. Commercial skylights are a simple solution that can help you realize all these benefits without breaking your budget in the process. Furthermore, there are multiple types of skylight solutions that can be designed to fit your unique business needs. Whether you are looking for standard domed skylights, commercial Sun Tunnels for your dropped ceilings, or modular skylights tailored to your building, there is a commercial skylight solution that can achieve your goals, simply and efficiently. 

9 Key Skylight Terms To Know

When you work with commercial skylight contractors, you may be introduced to new vocabulary for skylights and skylight installation. As your project gets underway, here are a few key terms you will hear tossed around and are helpful to know as you find the right commercial skylights solution for your building. 

Curb

The curb of a skylight refers to the raised frame that is fixed to the deck of the roof and on which curb-mounted skylights are placed. Curbs of typically made of wood and built on site or made of metal and are pre-manufactured and delivered with the skylight.

Fixed skylight

This term refers to skylights that are non-operable, as in they do not open for venting purposes.

Flashing

Flashing is a weatherproofing system that imperviously integrates skylights into the surrounding roofing material. There are multiple types of flashing systems for skylights, such as self-flashing and step flashing, and they are meant to shed exterior water without relying on sealants, which can degrade over time.

Glazing

Glazing is the glass or acrylic portion of the skylight. Typically commercial skylights have multiple layers of glazing, which is referred to as insulated glazing, such as the Velux Acrylic Double Dome. The space between the glazing can also be filled with argon gas to enhance insulation further.

Laminated glass

Laminated glass is made from two panes of glass that are bonded together by a vinyl layer between them. The vinyl layer prevents the glass from breaking apart in dangerous shards when damaged.

Low-E coating

Low-E, or low emissivity, coating refers to a metallic layer that is chemically bonded to skylight glass and works to prevent heat gain and minimize UV rays that can fade interior surfaces. Sometimes notated as LoE, LoE2, or LoE3 which indicates single, double, and triple layers of coating, respectively. 

Tempered glass

A type of glass that is hardened to shatter into small pieces when broken.

Venting skylight

As opposed to fixed skylights, venting skylights are operable. They can be opened manually with a long arm crank or can be remotely operated. Additionally, some venting skylights are outfitted with moisture sensors that automatically close the skylight in the event of precipitation. 

Wrapping

Wrapping a skylight is the process of using roofing underlayment or felt to wrap the skylight curb or frame. Wrapping skylights reduce the risk of condensation forming on the interior skylight surfaces and is additional protection from exterior water penetration in extreme weather scenarios.

Mares & Dow Construction & Skylights has been serving the Bay Area since 1983.  Our general contractors are home remodeling experts and enjoy working with homeowners as they start the process with their next project.  Contact us today to get started on your home remodel!

3 Common Myths about Commercial Skylights

Most building occupants can agree, skylights can transform commercial buildings and suffuse interior spaces with all the benefits of warm, natural illumination. Despite the many benefits of commercial skylights, misperceptions about their durability and performance persist. Some myths founded initially in the realities of early iterations of skylights are quickly debunked by modern commercial skylights that boast new technologies and materials. Here are three common myths about commercial skylights and how today’s skylights prove them wrong.

They are leaky

A common refrain about commercial skylights is that they either lack a proper seal to the surrounding roof or curb or that the seal quickly deteriorates to allow water to leak into the interior of buildings. In the first place, often these “leaky” skylights were dripping condensation that had formed on the inside surface of the skylight due to the moist interior air reacting with surfaces subject to external temperatures. However, modern commercial skylights have been designed to confront this problem and utilize insulated glass, multiple domes isolating interior domes from external-facing domes, and encapsulating frames that can include condensation wicking systems and create a reliable barrier keeping outside precipitation from coming in. Additionally, frame varieties made from long-lasting material such as silicone that has a life-cycle of fifty years.

They are energy inefficient

Many building owners will opt out of commercial skylights due to the belief that they would exacerbate already sizeable HVAC utility costs. Certainly, some older skylights were subject to undesirable heat transfer, but the advancements in skylight technology have worked to mitigate this issue. Skylights have several glazing options that can manage heat transfer, while Low-E coatings help to reflect heat to its source, keeping buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Simple structural innovations also increase the energy efficiency of skylights: venting skylights can let fresh air in and regulate internal temperatures in the same fashion as windows, and remote-operated blinds with reflective exterior-facing surfaces can also be used to minimize heat transfer.

They are easily damaged

After investing in the capital expense of commercial skylight installation, the last thing a building owner wants to have to do is replace or repair them due to damage. For buildings in areas prone to extreme weather such as hail and high winds, skylights can seem like an unnecessary risk. For this reason, modern skylights use materials engineered to withstand these types of forces. For example, the Velux Dynamic Dome skylight utilizes a geometric design and thermoplastic materials that have been factory tested to hold up to two-inch hail propelled at 88 miles per hour without scratching its surface.

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